As an intense lobbying effort is reportedly underway in Olympia to push a background check measure, gun owners were expected to gather on the Capitol campus Saturday morning to oppose additional gun controls.
It would be the second large pro-gun demonstration to be held in Olympia this winter. In January, an estimated 2,500 people gathered on the capitol campus. This event is called the “Firearms Freedom Rally,” sponsored th the “2nd Enforcers.”
In Seattle, some 60 miles north, anti-gun Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn signaled that he may exploit Friday afternoon’s shooting at a Seattle parks maintenance office. McGinn was the loser when the State Supreme Court let stand two consecutive rulings that the city’s attempt to ban guns in city parks facilities is illegal under the state’s long-standing preemption law.
McGinn, quoted by the Seattle PI.com, said, “And that’s’ a good way to end a press conference like today when we started off at 2 o’clock today with a shooter with access to parks facilities.”
McGinn and other Seattle liberals want to overturn the preemption law, allowing the city to set its own gun regulations. A King County Superior Court judge and then a unanimous Appeals Court panel both said the state statute, enacted in 1983 and strengthened in 1985, does not allow local governments to set their own rules.
It was a major victory for the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, with national implications. SAF and the National Rifle Association had sued the city four years ago over the attempted ban. Had the court allowed Seattle to set its own rules, it would have signaled that gun prohibitionists in other states could challenge their preemption laws because many of them were based on Washington’s model.
SAF and NRA were joined in that lawsuit by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), the Washington Arms Collectors and five private citizens.
Saturday’s demonstration in Olympia is designed to send a message to the Legislature that gun owners will not sit idly by while their rights are eroded. A story about the demonstration in the Seattle Times elicited comments from anti-gunners that were insulting and foul.
One reader, identifying himself as “Wangster,” wrote, “I though I could smell cheesy poofs, gun oil, chew and Marlborough lights. Time to go back to your trailers, you dumb ass white trash piece of s--- f---tards.”
Another, calling himself “jekent” added this comment: “Great. I can expect more to see more pictures of ugly hillbillies in their camo showing off their toys.”
At issue this weekend, according to the Times, is the proposed Substitute House Bill 1588, calling for “universal background checks” on all firearms transactions. The measure has run into trouble after CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb offered several conditions for his cooperation, which earned him both criticism and praise.
Chief among those conditions was removal of the state pistol registry. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs refused to budge, but now the Times is reporting that they have wrangled a concession from sponsor Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle) to exempt law enforcement from the background checks.
Gottlieb was attending a conference this week, and was not available for comment.
While the bill may pass in the House — provided Pedersen can eke out enough votes — its chances in the State Senate are doubtful.
Meanwhile, the suspect in Seattle’s Friday afternoon shooting, Carolyn Piksa, 46, was arrested at her home about three hours after the shooting. One shot was fired, hitting and seriously wounding 65-year-old Bill Keller. Piksa is reportedly a parks employee, and there was no motive reported so far in the investigation.
According to the Seattle P-I.com and KOMO, Piksa does not have a criminal history in Washington, but she was charged last fall in Oregon with unlawful possession of a firearm. A warrant was issued in Marion County when she failed to appear in court in December.
McGinn’s comment could signal an effort to exploit the shooting, because it happened in a park facility, where firearms would have been prohibited by Seattle’s administrative parks rule.